Comps and calls for February 2017

This month’s listing update is sponsored by:

Happy February! The New Year started well for me, once I’d got rid of my cold and chest infection: I won a poetry competition at The Horse’s Mouth. I only found out about the comp on New Year’s Eve and was late for my celebrations because I took the time to enter, so I am delighted that my diligence was rewarded. Then I discovered yet another medical problem that will require yet another operation… sigh!

How is your year going? Is it panning out the way that you’d hoped, or are you struggling? This is when perseverance counts. In January, lots of people enter and submit – it might be their new year resolution. By February, some will have given up. Don’t be among them!

Many thanks to ProWritingAid for sponsoring this month’s update. ProWritingAid is a world-class editing app used by both professional and novice writers. Quote the COMPS2017 discount code while ordering you’ll get a stunning 35% off ProWritingAid Premium, although a free trial is available too.

Cathy x

Here are February 2017’s writing competitions and calls for submission, all with free, electronic entry.

As usual I’m passing these on in good faith but mistakes may be made, so do check all the submission guidelines carefully. Any info in quotes comes from the website itself and any dates at the start are deadlines. Also, I don’t know the sources personally, so do check them out for yourselves.

There are three headings (click to jump straight to them):

If you aren’t a submitter (why not? Nothing to lose! Rejection is something we all share!) then the themes can make great writing prompts/exercises.

Although I mention only fiction or poetry, many publications accept non-fiction, art or other forms, so do check if interested. Good luck and do let me know of successes! The links are in the comments, and any dates at the start are deadlines.

Where possible, I have marked the relevant entries with ‘paying’, ‘contributor copy’ etc. However, you are best off checking the info for yourselves as I am not infallible and the info isn’t always available or clear. Please be aware that a contributor copy may be in print or digital format. Also, some publications offer several things, eg payment as well as a contributor copy. Where this is the case, I have assumed that payment is enough of an incentive, so I haven’t listed everything. It’s a rough guide and should be treated as such.


3rd Feb Poems on the theme of Place. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

5th Feb Travel experience unlike any other. Up to 1000 words. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

5th Feb Life writing up to 5000 words. PAYING

8th Feb Spectator Competition No. 2985: trigger point ‘You are invited to provide a poetic preview of the day Article 50 is triggered. Please email entries, wherever possible, of up to 16 lines to by midday on 8 February.’ PAYING

10th Feb ‘The theme is “The Line Of My Life”. It could just as well be about your first stumble down a dry ski slope as it could about heliskiing in Alaska. We’re just looking for an interesting story told well.’ 500-600 words. VOUCHER/OTHER

13th Feb Story up to 2000 words (Cathy’s note: as the prize is a course at Arvon, make sure that you can travel there before entering!). NON-CASH PRIZE

14th Feb Fiction 5000-10,000 on the theme of Love. PAYING

14th Feb ONE LINE based on the following prompt: She loved him and he loved her / but it wasn’t that simple. VOUCHER/OTHER

14th Feb UK only: Story 5000-10,000 words on the theme of Love. PAYING

14th Feb Explain in 15 words or fewer why you’d like to win metal business cards. NON-CASH PRIZE

17th Feb ‘The 17th Christopher Tower Poetry Competition, the UK’s most valuable prize for young poets, has opened for entries, and this year students between 16-18 years of age are challenged to write a poem on the theme of ‘Stone’.’ PAYING (thanks to for this one)

19th Feb ‘Maximum 2000 words on The Journey (you can change the title but the story must deal with the topic), with this last sentence from Perfume Island as a prompt:

They had a long journey ahead of them.’ NON-CASH PRIZE (Cathy’s note: as the winner needs to provide his/her own transport to Provence, this is probably best for writers in Europe)

21st Feb ‘The Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award is a grant of $12,500 to support the work of a promising early-career nonfiction writer on a story that uncovers truths about the human condition.’ PAYING (many thanks to for this one)

27th Feb US over 40 only: poetry MS. Only those who have not had a chapbook or poetry collection published are eligible. PAYING (LOTS!) (many thanks to for this one)

28th Feb Fiction 180-360 words. PAYING

28th Feb Poem composed in Jotabé rhyme. PAYING

1st Mar ‘Entry to the Prize for a Novella is open to residents of the UK, Ireland, US and Canada plus anyone who has been educated in Wales for a minimum of six months. We are seeking evocative, succinct and authentic short book-length manuscripts in English. For the novella category they will be between 8,000 and 30,000 words. For the memoir, between 5,000 and 30,000.’

1st Mar US only: ‘Two $500 awards will be given, one for a short story of up to 1000 words by a high school student and another for a short story of up to 2000 words by an undergraduate student.’ PAYING

1st Mar Flash fiction up to 500 words on the theme of Space Exploration. Multiple entries permitted. NON-CASH PRIZE

1st Mar Memoir or novella. (thanks to for this one)


3rd Feb Erotic stories 1000-5000 words on the theme of Hotel. PAYING

5th Feb Poetry inspired by music and musicians. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

5th Feb or when filled: ‘Previously unpublished short fiction that doesn’t lean heavily on genre tropes. Hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, sci-fi that melts in your mouth-brain not your hand-brain. Speculative fiction, weird fiction, slipstream, glitterlit, analogpunk. Basically anything that pleases Scummy, our megaphone-toting slime buddy.’ PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL

5th Feb 100-word story with a one word title. Theme: gods.

5th Feb Story 800-2000 words long on the theme of Rack and Ruin.

5th Feb ‘States of the Union is a book about the results of the 2016 presidential election. We are currently seeking contributors. Non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and art will all be accepted for submission.’ (Cathy’s note: the donation is suggested but not obligatory. One contributor will be paid $100) PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

6th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Canada.

6th Feb ‘The plays must be take their inspiration from a song in such a way as the audience can relate the piece directly back to the song. The pieces must take no longer than 15 minutes to perform. This means that your scripts should take about 10 minutes to read from the page.’

7th Feb ‘The London Reader is issuing an open call for short stories, minifiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and art that explore love in the digital and narcissistic age.’

8th Feb Story or art on the theme of Floidoip. PAYING

10th Feb ‘Typewriter Emergencies is seeking works featuring furry characters. We’re looking for stories, book reviews, articles, and any other form of furry material.’ PAYING

10th Feb Writing on the theme of Black and White.

10th Feb Speculative flash fiction on the theme of Tyrannosaurus Reads. PAYING

10th Feb Flash and short fiction up to 6000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

14th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Errant Mythologies.

14th Feb ‘As always, 49th Parallels only seeks science fiction (no supernatural creatures or events of any kind) but for this anthology, it might include steam or diesel punk. Stories must be set in Canada or involve Canada and Canadians as the principal subject operating in the larger world (or beyond). Stories may be historical (back to 1867) or futuristic, but whatever creates the alternative past or possible future must take place prior to 2017. The causal factor may be scientific, technological or as a result of major political or social change. We look forward to seeing how both Canadian and non-Canadian writers explore this question.’ PAYING

15th Feb ‘Hippocampus Magazine and Press is requesting true stories inspired by the heyday of radio* for its forthcoming anthology, Air.

We’re looking for behind-the-scene stories about small town radio stations. We’re seeking personal stories about die-hard radio fans. We want to hear from (current/former) jocks, from program directors, from engineers, from the sales team, from ancillary characters like record reps and concert promoters—tales from every corner of the radio station and from everyone radio ever reached.’ PAYING (thanks for this one to )

15th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the various themes suggested.

15th Feb Ghazals on the theme of Freedom.

15th Feb Fiction and more on the theme of Fool.

15th Feb Poetry, flash fiction and more on the theme of Fauna.

17th Feb Fiction 3000-6000 words.

18th Feb Fiction 4000-10,000 words on the theme of Fire. PAYING

19th Feb Fiction and more on the theme of Wants and Needs.

20th Feb ‘We seek nonfiction work that attempts, circles, questions, contradicts, decries, implores, or offers remedy to a list of possible URBAN FRACTURES –including: election protests, police violence, gentrification, racism, classicism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, religious intolerance, immigration tensions, guns, domestic abuse, protest, development, neglect, loneliness—or anything from microaggression to cataclysm—that creates fissure, disconnection, and brokenness.’

20th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of The Earth Speaks: Reclaiming Indigenous Wisdom.

26th Feb ‘Short stories of up to 7,000 words by women writers, responding to the theme of ‘ghosts.’ ‘ PAYING

26th Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Subversion.

27th Feb (Cathy’s note: ignore the deadline on the website – this is a fresh call): sketches and one-liners responding to new stories. PAYING

28th Feb ‘Blood & Bourbon is here to showcase all things hard, gritty, and raw. That time you got in a bar fight, that time you went to an S&M club, that time you had an opinion that sparked a heated argument over a family dinner.’ Poetry, fiction and more.

28th Feb ‘Sweat, Tears, or the Sea is looking for submissions inspired by the John Milton quote “They also serve who only stand and wait.” There are three categories: Poetry (no line limits, but longer poems must be exceptional), Flash Fiction (up to 1,000 words), and Short Fiction (1,001 to 4,000 words).’

28th Feb ‘I have become very interested in the idea of Hygge, the Danish term for cosiness, intimacy and taking pleasure from simple things. It’s about candlelight and cosy throws, knitting, sharing comfort food with good friends, reading, country walks,and enjoying everything in the present moment. It’s a hug for the soul.’ Poetry (Cathy’s note: although this isn’t a ‘payer’, I recommend Angela’s blog in general, for all aspects of poetry and the poetry life).

28th Feb ‘TOKEN magazine is an arts and literature zine that gives a voice to those who are rarely given one. The name comes from the experience many people of colour face in everyday life: tokenism. TOKEN magazine is an outlet to work against that – diversity of voice is essential to the magazine, not an afterthought.’ Short fiction and more.

28th Feb Canadian Christians only: Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Christmas. PAYING

28th Feb ‘Dribble, Drabble, Twabble…Stories of 50 words, 100 words and 100 characters exactly. Plus haiku, tanka, haibun, limericks and other short form poetry. Other strict short form fiction is welcome, as are stories about short forms of fiction and poetry, and I will be accepting ‘unthemed’ fiction and poetry (in this case, longer stories and poems) as well.’

28th Feb Speculative fiction on the theme of Appetities. PAYING

28th Feb Short stories 2000-4000 words (not firm) on the theme of any of these: Lost Worlds, Supernatural Horror, Time Travel & Heroic Fantasy. PAYING

28th Feb ‘The presidential election in 2016 in the United States has reignited the narrative about Arabs and Muslims as expedient villains. This is nothing new, but perhaps there are a fervor and momentum this time around that are especially dangerous. How are we being affected, responding and not responding, surviving? We’re looking for work that wrestles with the topic in thoughtful, personal, whimsical, humorous, critical, or other ways, skipping the speeches and lessons.’ Poetry and prose. PAYING

28th Feb Poetry and prose on the theme of Spring (the season).

28th Feb ‘The Political Issue is looking for speculative cyberpunk fiction focusing on the political systems of the present and future, dystopian cyberpunk fiction satirical fiction, thoughtful nonfiction pertaining to the worlds changing political climate (for we live in interesting time), and most importantly, hope.’ PAYING

28th Feb Poetry and fiction on the theme of Time. PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL

28th Feb ‘The Mythos Planet: Lovecraft Insired Sci-Fi Terror–Drabbles (100 words), Micro-Fiction (101-750 words), Flash (751-1000 words), Short Stories (1001-2000 words), and Poetry (up to 50 lines).’

28th Feb Poetry or prose on the theme of Technology. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

28th Feb Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Swansong.

1st Mar Novel MS proposals.

1st Mar Poetry and fiction.

1st Mar Poetry, fiction and more.

1st Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Transformations (Cathy’s note: another source lists this as a paying market, but I can’t find any details of payment on the website). UNKNOWN PAYMENT

1st Mar ‘Submit 1-5 poems, the name of the location (park, public land, or designated outdoor space) that inspired the poem or poems, and a short bio to, anytime between December 15, 2016 and March 1, 2017. You may also include relevant photographs that might accompany your poems on the website.’ PAYING

1st Mar Flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Killer Clowns and Freak Shows. PAYING

1st Mar Flash, short fiction and poetry on the theme of Is There a Word for That? (Cathy’s note: non-Americans can submit by email). PAYING

1st Mar ‘Retro Future is a bi-monthly pulp magazine that searches for diverse, surprising, and progressive science fiction in art, prose, essay, and comics.’ Theme: Games. PAYING

1st Mar Poetry on the theme of Spring. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES


NOTE: Publishers sometimes don’t discuss their royalty rate upfront. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t pay! I just haven’t put them as paying/giving royalties whenever I haven’t found details on the website.

‘We want the things that are skewed, that live somewhere slightly left of reality. We want the things that stick out, that make us laugh, that raise our hairs on end, that get under our skin and refuse to leave us alone. All prose under 1,500 words will be considered for publication. You may use those 1,500 words as you wish: in one story, in seven, in three, etc.’

Poetry. PAYING

Queer literature: poetry, fiction and more. ‘We define queer literature and arts as works created by LGBTTQI people, rather than works which feature queer content alone.’ PAYING

Horror fiction.

‘Born in Africa and bred in the diaspora, Transition is a unique forum for the freshest, most compelling, most curious ideas about race.’ Poetry and fiction. There are two calls open as I write this: for work on Fear or Religion. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

‘Bottlecap Press is always looking for fresh new material, and is actively seeking manuscript submissions for chapbooks and full length works, as well as poetry and fiction submissions for our blog!’ TIP JAR SYSTEM

Stand-alone theatre scripts 10-15 mins to be performed in London (Cathy’s note: you arrange the performers, so it would help if you can get to London!). PAYING (with thanks to for this one)


Clean fantasy and SF stories. PAYING

Poetry and fiction (Cathy’s note: if your work is selected and published, you will get a voucher for a subscription to firswriter. Well worth it in my opinion – I got a lifetime subscription and it has been very useful). VOUCHER/OTHER

‘The Future Fire publishes beautiful and useful fiction and poetry that focuses on the social-political elements of imaginary, futuristic, fantastic, horrifying, surreal or otherwise speculative universes. We are particularly interested in feminist, queer, postcolonial and ecological themes, writing by under-represented voices, and stories from outside the Anglophone world.’ PAYING


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